By Bob Katzen
On April 28, 2016, the Senate 32-2, approved a bill that would raise the state’s tobacco purchasing age from 18 to 21 effective July 1, 2017. Other provisions ban pharmacies and health care institutions from selling any tobacco products; prohibit sales of e-cigarettes to minors; and ban the use of electronic cigarettes in all places where smoking is currently banned. Hawaii is the only state that has raised the age to 21.
Supporters said the bill will save lives and reduce health care costs. They argued that many 18-year-olds are in high school and are a major source of providing tobacco products to younger high schoolers and middle schoolers.
Opponents said this is another example of state government overstepping its bounds and trying to regulate behavior. They argued if you’re 18 you can join the military, vote and serve on a jury and should not be banned from purchasing a legal product.
(A “Yes” vote is for the bill. A “No” vote is against the bill.)
Sen. Patricia Jehlen Yes